I Can Too Change My Mind

Nose scoop on the new Chanel Exclusifs — Some of you laugh at my “I know a guy” things, but… I know a guy (girl) who has tried the new Chanel Exlusifs, and her favorites were the Eau de Cologne at first, but she said the No. 18 and Coromandel, which she wasn’t sure she would like at first, had a drydown that kept her nose glued to the Sweet Perfume Spot all night.  18 more days….

One of the best things about perfume is that you get to change your mind. The scent you turned your nose up last year may be the one you absolutely cannot live without this week — and those you loved and spritzed with abandon last week can quickly be rejected as no longer worth your time or attention.  Your nose is very fickle.

Now… the only thing I ask is that March please not snigger when I recant — recanting on perfume is sober business, not to be chortled about. When we were at Tak in NY last August, March went on a squeeee about the Divine perfumes, and I sniffed them, curled up my nose and pronounced them horrible — not just one of them, but the whole line.  Recently the lovely Nas at The Perfume Shoppe sent me samples of two of the Divines — the standard issue Divine and Divine L’aime Soeur.  Divine has notes of peach, coriander, gardenia, Indian tuberose, May rose, oak moss, musk, vanilla and spice. These should be notes I love, and upon smelling them again, I do!!!  Why in the world was this perfume so distasteful a few short months ago and is perfect now? This opens with a sparkly fruit note and has a gorgeous floral-spice-musk drydown.

So, puzzled as I was, I went on to the next sample, L’aime Soeur, which I thought was even more horrible than all the others put together.  Notes of jasmine, otto bulgar rose, ylang and ambergris.  What’s not to love here?  There is one note that feels a little sharp on the open, but the sharpness disappears quickly, and this turns into a gorgeous, but still spunky jasmine-rose perfume.


Shall we continue?  The largest single sin against perfume I have made was sniffing Jean Desprez’ Bal a Versailles, shrugging my shoulders and pitching the little bottle into my sample basket.  Maybe I just hadn’t explored my inner slut enough then or maybe the parfum is just much better. I recant, regardless, Bal a Versailles is something every woman should have in her wardrobe for when she’s feeling like too much of a mommy, a wife and not enough like Miss Thing on the left.

So what brings about this change in how I feel about a perfume?  I’ve thought maybe just aging is the culprit, but these are turn-arounds that I’ve made in the last year.   Mostly, I think your nose becomes more, um, tolerant.  You see past that dirty socks and sweaty man note of MKK to the glorious drydown it has.  You overlook some of the more pungent tangy notes to see how beautifully crafted a perfume is, even if it’s not one you will wear much.  One thing I am certain of, I would not have appreciated the gorgeousness that is Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleue parfum five years ago or maybe even a year ago.

What perfume have you done the biggest turn-around on?

  • Judith says:

    Patty–you need my DH–or to use his method (if you or your DH is handy it might work; NOT recommended to the general public). He first tries one of those plastic things that helps you open bottles. He then takes a teeny-tiny wrench and uses it OVER the plastic thing (so as not to touch the bottle at all). I squirm every time he does this, but he hasn’t marked (much less destroyed) a bottle yet–and he always gets them open. PS If you can’t get our mutual bottle open without smashing it, you must send it to me–if it ever comes! 🙂

  • Patty says:

    March, I know. And I really did try the blow dryer thing first, but I just don’t have the patience for it and just can’t bring myself to care enough about the bottle to spend an hour on it. Though I admit to feeling fairly blasphemous as I took a wrench to it. I just *wanted* that juice!

  • Patty says:

    Gaia — I love the Regina Harris! I keep running into my dislike of spending $100+ for less than 10 mls of oil (feel the same way about Jalaine and Yosh, even though I adore most of the scents in both!), and I just need to get over it. 🙂

  • Patty says:

    Robin — ruh-roh. 🙂 Now I need to get somewhere where they have the whole set again to try!

  • Patty says:

    Maria — not sure I can help you with the pumpkin and mice, but what do you want them turned into? 🙂

  • March says:

    P — somewhere out there in the lonely darkness, some bottle collector read your comment about destroying those flacons and stayed up all night, crying…

  • My biggest turnaround so far, has been the Regina Harris. I hated the first and wrinkled my nose at the second. Now I’m the proud owner of both gorgeous bottles. I dread to think what next. Should I give the hated Zagorsk another chance? *shudder*

  • Susan says:

    March & Patty – I appreciate the replies.

    Thanks to March for teaching me about jasmine and skank! and to Patty for the image of “cheeleaders wearing crotchless panties”!

  • March says:

    Tom and Patty — I found it! The punctuation’s still messed up, but it’s mostly readable. FYI you pronounced it “a total scrubber.”


  • carmencanada says:

    Patty, I’ve been doing the turnaround thing with the Divines also! Aren’t they just exquisite? What would be interesting is to trace the genealogy of a turnaround, because there’s always one scent, with one note (or a combination of notes), that draws you towards something a bit different with common notes, and so forth. Until you end up loving something that just didn’t appeal to you! I could trace my love for the Divines you quote through the Big Tuberose Trilogy (Tubéreuse Criminelle, Carnal Flower, Fracas), which introduced me to white flowers. Now the butch vanilla in Bulgari Black has got me interested in that overplayed note, which I used to disdain. I think that learning to love chypres is a very good way to get scent-literate: they go through so many phases that they introduce you to practically the whole encyclopedia of notes.

  • Robin says:

    Now you must retry the Divines for men — they are my favorites of the line.

  • Maria B. says:

    Patty, you’re better than a fairy godmother. BTW, I have a pumpkin and some mice hanging around not doing much. @};-@};-@};-@};-

  • Patty says:

    Alpona is pretty magnificnt, and I wasn’t sure I liked it right at first either, so I empathize!

    Oh, go look again, the Bal a Versailles decanting fairy has done as you requested.

  • Patty says:

    M — I’ll take your word for it. That sounds like something I would say. Was that one of the ones sent in a blind sampling thing? But did I think the dinosaurs were still in it? If not, I think I need to resample.

    Okay, I’ll go hunt up the Cristalle too, it must be around here somewhere…

  • Patty says:

    BBliss — the Divines are divine. I’m still trying to figure out what was going on with me that I missed it the first time around? Makes zero sense, all the notes are my favorites, and it is just exquisite.

    I can be very fickle by season alone. One thing will smell terrible in the summer and just be perfection in the winter.

  • Patty says:

    Tom — you are one of the two MdB fans? @-)

    I tested SAbles in NYC, and I keep thinking I need to get my hands on it again and try it. It’s very strong and takes a while to process, and our noses were just worn out.

  • Maria B. says:

    Alpona has been my biggest recent turnaround. In these very (metaphorical) pages, I stated that I admired it but it reminded me of my aunt. I was too polite to say she was my *maiden* aunt. Now I smell no similarity to anything she might have worn. I just want it. I put it on and I imagine I’m at a concert hall watching a Handel opera all (tastefully) dressed up.

    I have also managed a turnaround in the DH. During the early part of our relationship, he became irritated–nasally and moodily–when I put on my beloved L’Heure Bleue. So I went for years without it!!!! :((:((:(( When I became intensely re-interested in fragrance, I told him, “I’m sorry, but I don’t want to live without L’Heure Bleue. I’m going to order some.” Now he likes it. I’m careful to stay away from him when I first apply it. There’s something in the topnotes that jars him.

    Topnotes seem to be the most troublesome part of perfumes. Two good rules to follow in judging fragrances are:
    1. Stay with it till the topnotes subside.
    2. If it’s available in extrait form, don’t pass judgment till you’ve tried that version.

    Now if only some wondrous decanting angel would start carrying Bal a Versailles in pure parfum form. ^:)^

  • tmp00 says:

    I wish one could search your archives too! I want to read the tarpit review!

  • March says:

    P — girlfriend, I am pretty darn sure I sent you that AG Eau du Fear, and you not only hated it with every fiber of your essence, you blogged on it.

    Now, if I could only search our archives;)) I could find your post. I think you said La Brea Tarpit. Or something similar.

    Also, I sent you a bottle of Cristalle, so go dig around in the vault!/:) Your verdict was: meh.

  • BBliss says:

    Ooh – I am SO glad those Divines finally “got you” – I think they are modern classics – even if that is an oxymoron.

    I usually have trouble with the other way around…I fall madly in love with something, start plotting how to trade one of my kids for a bottle, and then most times even before the sample is gone – poof, my obsession ends. Ultimately, the perfume is “not me” or just plain starts to annoy me. Sometimes, I still like them, but can’t ever imagine using 30ml, much less 50ml or 100ml. I am a big fan of the decant now.

    Biggest turnaround was wearing Tauer’s Le Maroc as I am typically not a fan of overwhelming jasmine – but now I smell all of it and as it aged it seems even better.

    I am currently awaiting my Lutens epiphany…I like to smell them – but on me they are just, creepy and irritating.

    I really must get some Bal a V.

  • tmp00 says:

    Ohmigod, how many of these have there been in my life? Too many! AG Sables was one that at first I did not like but came to love and horde. Recently Miel de Bois was the same deal: at first I recoiled, now I am in thrall. I hate it when it goes the other way, but I know that for the most part that I almost always turn back to the spurned ones begging forgiveness. (donning flame suit) One of the ones that recently went the other way was Chergui: recently it’s gone a little off to me. I’m sure in a month or so it will be back to enthralling though.

  • Ellen says:

    Hey, Patty: I don’t think I smelled the mint, but of course that’s pre-T42 awakening…..

  • Patty says:

    Ellen, all of that sounds pretty great, except the mint. Is that very prominent?

  • Patty says:

    Victoria, I agree. The “Perfume Legends” books has some comments about LB that are just perfect, how it seems proper, but draws you in with the warmth and sweetness. It really is perfection, but I think it would be hard to get until you have sniffed enough stuff to appreciate that.

  • Patty says:

    R — is the parfum on Shalimar that different? That’s the one version of it I haven’t smelled, though I actually like the shower gel quite a bit.

    I know Coco is really wonderful in the parfum, it’s the perfect concentration for me.

    Yes, Feb 12 is the release date, they’ve all got the same release date, so no early releases, even though I talked and talked and talked and cajoled and pleaded… nope, nothing doing, they have their orders.

  • Ellen says:

    Hey, sweet Patty: Yup, EdF is a Goutal. Here’s what the Annick Goutal .nl site says:

    Proud like the estuary of the island of Ré (off the coast of Vendue, France) so dear to the creator. Proud like sailors in search of adventure. Proud of his difference. In an innovating and surprising fragrance, mint, bitter orange, clove, birch bark and smoked tea blend together to create a strong, assertive universe, the expression of virile and avant-garde exoticism. Unique and rare.

    I don’t know — maybe it took a little while for my inner virility to come out? I KNOW my avant-garde exoticism has been quite obvious for some time now! Perhaps they don’t update the “nl” website too often –I notice they have both Mandragore & Songes flagged as “new.” I see that Marina has samples on her site, but it seems unavailable otherwise. 🙂

  • Patty says:

    Susan — NN is a dirty, dirty girl. It’s not something I would have liked a year ago, that’s for sure! But it’s the juxtaposition of the light top notes and prettiness over that skank that is so adorable. Like the cheerleader with crotchless panties.

  • Patty says:

    Aim — yes, Lutens was a slow turn-around for me, too. You have to appreciate the oddity of it and embrace it as unconventionally pretty. LIke the tall gangly girl with the interesting face that will grow up to be a beautiful model, but she’s really not pretty.

    Malle was another turn-around. I initially dismissed a lot of them as not interesting enough, and then I kept resniffing them and saw their magic is not in beating you over the head with what they were, but sneaking up behind you and seducing you with their elegance.

  • Patty says:

    Ellen, eau de Fier, that’s a Goutal? Something in the back of my head is saying I hated that one… which means it is time to retest it! 🙂

  • Patty says:

    March — you are a cruel girl, making fun of me like that. :((

    Okay, I’ll skank you up. Did I tell you I had to ruin my pretty BaV bottle just to get the juice out? That’s becoming a common theme these days. Had to transfer all the Shalini out because the cork screwed up, and then the BaV top, the little plastic insert around the stopper got stuck.

    I also had to shatter a vintage Vol de Nuit bottle last week just to get the juice out. Me and bottles are NOT getting along.

  • Patty says:

    Judith, I had the opposite with MdM, loved it at first, but that cobwebby accord was one I couldn’t wear all day. Not sure why Borneo overcomes it, but I think the cacao must be the overcoming note — chocolate makes everything better!

  • Patty says:

    Marina, I changed my mind on T42 as well. March sent me a little decant of it, I sniffed it and went,,, meh,,,, then tried it again maybe a month or two later and fell in love with it. I need to shower 5 times a day to be able to wear all the perfumes I love in rotation often enough.

  • Patty says:

    Dinazad — Chergui headshop oil? :::gasp::: *runs over to Chergui and covers its beautiful little ears*

  • Patty says:

    Flor, I can’t even remember smelling Cristalle. I need to give it a sniff next time I’m in Sak’s or NM. Coco finally hit home with me recently. The EDT is too light, the EDP is too strong, but the parfum is juuuuust right — has the depth of the EDP, but not so, um, strong!

    Shalimar is still a miss for me, too. I keep thinking I should try and find the vintage parfum.

  • Patty says:

    Elle — I would love to see your perfume closet! I think it would make my meager collection cry from envy.

    White florals have always been my big love, and leathers were just horrific, but now leathers are going up with a bullet on my favorites list.

  • Patty says:

    Good grief, Leo, you are a fickle thing! I don’t re-test things as often as I should. Usually I give away the sample I had to someone else and forget about it until I heard the mad raves somewhere else.

    It’s interesting, though, our concept of what is beautiful does change. I wish I had appreciated that weird can be beautiful when I was younger.

  • March says:

    Susan — that thing you’re smelling in NN is BUTT!!! Hahahahha — or, as we like to say, “skank” — but there are different kinds of skank.

    I’ve always wondered about that note in NN — you can get it from musk, but musk is in many, many things, so that’s not a help. Jasmine frequently provides that indolic note. In this case, theoretically it’s the orange blossom, which also has indoles — but I’m a fan of a lot of scents with OB that don’t have that smell. My pet theory is there’s something else unlisted (or some combo of scents) producing what even I admit is Skank at about a 9.5 on a scale of 10. Which I happen to like, but would have HORRIFIED me as a newbie.

    Which is my long-winded way of saying — hon, don’t be afraid. My advice is to put the bad experience behind you, but the vile vial away somewhere for safekeeping, and move on to other things. FWIW you can log onto Basenotes.com or MUA.com and read lots of comments which give you a general idea of how many people find something sweet/nasty/leathery/whatever. But in the end, all that matters is how it smells on you. And I wouldn’t be surprised if, in a year or two, you popped that vial back open and fell in love. BTW — many people find NN to be absolutely skanky.:d So you’ve got potential there.

  • Victoria says:

    I remember the first time I smelled L’Heure Bleue–it seemed so sweet and heavy! How one’s tastes change. Now, I cannot imagine anything else more beautiful. 🙂

  • violetnoir says:

    P, I would say the biggest turnaround I ever had was Shalimar. Hated it, hated it, hated it for years…Then a friend sent me a sample of the parfum, and I-WAS-HOOKED. 😮

    Also, Coco. I thought it smelled like man sweat until one day, my nose indicated otherwise.

    Speaking of Chanel, did you say 18 more days before you receive them? Geez, I just don’t think I can wait that long-ng-ng, girlfriend. I’m so tired of all this delayed gratification. :-w I am still waiting for my MDCI samples and would love to catch a whiff of the Indults, even Rousse. Now I find out that Guerlain has a few new ones coming out this year that sound beyond intriguing. Sigh…

    Love and hugs!

  • Susan says:

    Apologizing in advance – Newbie – Off-topic – I’m an idiot – etc. – but at this moment I’m wearing a sample of Nuit Noir (Mona d’Orio) & it’s really strong & horrible on me. Can some of you experts out there tell me – what is the big, overpowering scent in this fragrance? (So that I can be sure to avoid it in the future.)Somehow, I thought it would be a “white floral” sort of like Caron’s Narcisse Noir, which is wonderful on me.

    Desperately trying to bring this post back on topic: Maybe this fragrance will be a “turnaround” scent for me.

  • Style Spy says:

    I’m with you, P, I think my nose has just grown up & gotten eddicated. My biggest turnarounds have come with the Lutens — I’ve discovered more I liked after previously dismissing most of them. I’ve never done a full-on hate-to-love switch on anything, though, all my re-thinks have been on ‘fumes I felt kind of neutral about and later discovered something in them to love. Like looking up one day & realizing that your best guy pal has really kissable lips.

  • Ellen says:

    Marina, I am SO with you on T42! I had tried T42 & didn’t think much of it. Then, in my rush to try everything Goutal has ever done, I ordered a sample of Eau du Fier. The post office smushed it a bit, and so the whole package reeked of Eau du Fier — which is super-smoky like Tea for Two. Oh, man, my living room stunk. And then, I started to LIKE the stink but I haven’t seen any more around. Then I resniffed Tea for Two and ahhhhh! Now, it’s what I often wear to bed to help me cozy down to sleep despite my energy-saving turning down of the thermostat to 62F or so. I don’t think it projects as much as Eau du Fier, but that’s probably good considering a lot of folks aren’t yet fans of smoky sillage.

  • March says:

    Patty — PS — I sniffed the new Divine (L’Inspiratrice or something similar) yesterday and if you’ve fallen for them, you need to try that one, I think there’s a rosy note in there you’d adore.

  • March says:

    Wow — so much fun reading others’ comments!

    Patty — neener neener neener! 😡 It seemed to me you SHOULD like those Divines, so glad to hear you came around.

    BaV is something I think every woman SHOULD have in her wardrobe. There is absolutely nothing like it, and if only someone would send me a sample of the parfum :”> I’d roll around like a dog in it, since I have the same one I sent you — the EDP (the EDT is frankly lame — not enough skank.)

    I do turnarounds fairly regularly. As you know, I’m working on my Caron problem right now… yeah, I think it’s getting used to some new note or concept. I’m still not all aboard on the white flowers, but time will probably fix that.

  • Judith says:

    Well, I have to admit that the first time I smelled Messe de Minuit I thought it was dreadful–so musty, moldy, etc. Now I still think it’s musty and moldy–but I LOVE it!–as I said elsewhere, it’s one of my favorite comfort scents. I think in this case (and some others that I didn’t hate at first, but grew to love much more–MKK and Dzing), it was a matter of getting USED to a certain kind of (as yet) unfamiliar scent.

  • Marina says:

    My biggest turn-around was with Tea for Two. I went from- I can’t believe how vile this stuff is to- I can’t believe I could ever think this wondrous potion was vile…all in under a year. :d

  • dinazad says:

    Chergui. For ages I thought it smelled like a boring old headshop oil. Now I can’t do without. And I’ll admit that I wouldn’t touch some of my fragrant sins of youth with a ten-foot pole these days (Green Apple, I’m talking to you!). Unless, of course, I changed my mind!

  • Flor says:

    The first time I smelled Cristalle I was put off. Something about it repelled me. Now it is one of my all-time faves. I still have hope that I will fall madly, deeply in love with Shalimar and Coco. Until then, I have others to love and give my attention to.

  • Elle says:

    Oh, I’m well familiar w/ that awkward moment when I resniff some scent I’ve formerly dismissed as either boring drek or sewage from the deepest pit of hell and discover that a chorus of singing angels has now appeared on the scene to herald it as my new, *most* loved, ever, ever HG. My biggest turnaround was w/ white floral scents. I used to think that an adequate punishment for a mass murderer would be to spritz him w/ white floral scents daily. Shakes head, wanders off to embrace white floral section in perfume closet.

  • Leopoldo says:

    I reckon it’s the devt. of your vintage nose which has given you love for Divine…

    I’m racking my brain for my turnaround scents, but seeing as I rarely retest (too much stuff!), I currently can’t think of any. I’m more likely to lose interest in current loves than find love where I thought there was barren ground. What a fickle lame-o…